me and my friends letting the mud masks soak in, with a relaxing paste on our eyes
I think I can officially call myself a traveler. Not only because “tourist” sounds like I am 80 years old, follow a guide with a flag and carry an unnecessarily large, overpriced camera over my chest. But because this is my 10th
year living out of a backpack, with no more assets in one part of the world than any other and no clear region to call home. At the moment I have clothes in bags in Italy, India and possibly Vancouver…although I can’t even remember…nevermind the endless piles of sweatshirts from my teenage years in Montreal. Why are sweatshirts so hard to throw away?
Now, in my 6th
winter in India, I am becoming less of a traveler and more of a fixture in my few favorite places. I move around so little these days (it’s quite different form my first trip where I spent more nights on an overnight train or bus than in a hostel)…that the tourists still running around like a chicken with their heads cut off just look at me confused and ask what the hell I am doing here, in 1 place for so long, when there’s a whole country to see…ahhhh…how I
an ayurvedic treatment to completely relax the nervous system and basically induce a meditative state. it's wonderful!
used to be as naïve!! So anyways, I actually don’t know what word to use to describe myself anymore. (maybe I am undefinable…I like that!) As a tourist, aside form the overnight transportation to save money, I visited new places every few days, saw the popular sites to be seen and attempted to speak the local language. I took local buses, partly to experience life as an Indian but mostly to fit my budget. I thought I needed constant stimulation, new surroundings and new people to feel alive. I didn’t understand why other tourists weren’t always interested in meeting new people and moving on to a new destination. Now, I find the restaurants I like, more often find a room with a kitchen and stay away from anything new. I take taxis when I find people to share them with because carrying my backpack is dreadful. And strangest of all, I crave routine. I also avoid those people who are like the old me…wanting new stimulation constantly and needing to make friends with everyone. When I stay in 1 place for 3 months, I am not interested in meeting the constant flow of transient tourists staying in the room next
to me for 4 days at a time. It’s exhausting forging new friendships every week! And often less meaningful. I’m always happy to connect with someone even if it means we spend 2 hours together and then I never see them again. But to have a friendship that never goes beyond the surface just because you’re my neighbor and then start all over with the next boarder…no thanks!
I’ve also come to realize, no matter how I travel, where I eat or what language I speak….I will never be Indian! I was not happy with this revelation.
So I asked myself, why, if it’s not my passion for travel that is getting fulfilled because I stay in one place for 3 months, do I still feel so much more alive in India than anywhere else in the world?
Questions without answers can be troubling. I hope to one day find this one.
Despite all of these random thoughts taking up my mind and the insane amount of shenanigans I have gotten myself into over the past few months, I have also managed to find
it's slug season
you really gotta be careful where you walk or you will end up with slug all over your foot!
some time to continue my Ayurvedic studies. And although some experiences are not as exciting the second time around – with the expectation of greatness you didn’t have the first time – but I am happy to say going deeper into the practice of Ayurveda is even more thrilling than the introduction. It still fascinates me. I still have a yearning to learn more. I still look forward to my class everyday…even though this year I am not learning 1-on-1 with my beloved teacher. It is actually nice to share the lessons with 6 other people who are just as passionate about it as I am. I guess anyone who is willing to study beyond the introductory lessons is serious about gaining the knowledge…whereas last year I often came across people joining my class for a week or so, with no prior knowledge and little intention of continuing or using it in their lives. It was just to pass the time for them. I enjoy the interactions with these fellow students much more!
This year, the classes have focused mostly on nutrition and detox…not necessarily in the ways we practice, juice cleanses or maple syrup diets. A
find out for yourself this summer exactly how nourishing this is for your skin...
typical ayurvedic detox that can be done without a doctor’s assistance involves vomiting, inducing diarrhea or self-enemas. With the doctor, it would start with drinking ghee for up to a week…to really bring out all the toxins! But it’s amazing how many diseases can be healed by removing the body’s toxins…even without the ghee (which despite its medicinal properties and powerful effects, is still gross to drink.) And of course for a less invasive procedure, such as a simple cleanse, there are simpler methods, like a neti pot.
We did discuss the benefits of fasting…but nowhere close to the way we do it for Yom Kippur! It involves a simple diet for a few days before, a strict diet for a week after and for the most effective results, in combination with enemas! It’s no joke and requires quite the commitment.
The most fun days of class are the practical ones…fun for me because I am not an ideal candidate for these procedures (with an already weak body and poor digestion), so I just get to watch!!! You might think that is sick…to want to watch someone get an enema or vomit up a
bucket of the salt water they were just forced to gulp down…but how helpful is the theory when not put into practice?
Ok ok no need to worry…I will not come home preaching that everyone should be cleansed now and force you all to vomit up your toxins…it is definitely NOT for everyone, especially if it repulses you! Plus, watching it once was enough!! I don’t need to make it a habit.
The practice I regularly take part in is the facials...my friends and I give them to each other at least once a week here....it's relaxing and all of us look younger and healthier!
This summer, I am very excited to come back and use my brand new massage table...for facials of course but more importantly massage and ayurvedic treatments!!! Ayurvedic massage is quite foreign to most people outside of India. But since last year I have become more and more a fun of it. It is nothing like a standard “Swedish massage” as they call it in Thailand. The point is not to work out all the kinks in your muscles…of course there can be some focus on the knots in your shoulders, but for the most part it is meant to relax you and let the medicated herbal oil absorb into your body through long, quick strokes. The oils all have different properties, so depending on your condition (joint pain, stiff muscles, nerve damage) it fixes the problems without having to dig my elbows deep into your tissues! It’s not for everyone. Some people need and like that release and the pain that often goes along with it. I like the more gentle touch and the soothing oil. If it appeals to anyone else…you know where to reach me. I will be back in Canada June 23rd
and excited to rub oil over anyone willing to lie on my table!
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